Tides in! Deals and manufacturing news from Lilly, Merck, Cordenpharma, and more

BioProcess Insider turns the tides with news from Eli Lilly, CordenPharma, and others in this oligonucleotide and peptide round-up.

Dan Stanton, Managing editor

January 10, 2023

2 Min Read
Tides in! Deals and manufacturing news from Lilly, Merck, Cordenpharma, and more
Image: DepositPhotos/ iofoto

BioProcess Insider turns the tides with news from Eli Lilly and Merck & Co., CordenPharma, and Aurisco in this oligonucleotide and peptide round-up.

First up, and PeptiDream has garnered Big Pharma attention over the past couple of weeks, with both Eli Lilly and Merck & Co. (known as MSD outside north America) inking separate deals with the Japanese firm on the same day.

PeptiDream uses its Peptide Discovery Platform System (PDPS) technology to produce highly diverse non-standard peptide libraries for the identification and development of potential peptide-based, small molecule-based, or peptide-drug conjugate (PDC)-based therapeutics and diagnostics.


Image: DepositPhotos/

Merck will receive peptide candidates identified from PeptiDream’s tech platform for use as PDCs and will have exclusive rights to the candidates for conjugation to cytotoxic payloads. Beyond an undisclosed upfront payment, PeptiDream will be eligible for up to $2.1 billion in development, regulatory, and commercial milestones.

The Eli Lilly deal announced an hour later will see PeptiDream use its PDPS to identify high affinity macrocyclic peptide ligands to Lilly-elected targets of interest, capable of delivering a Lilly conjugated payload to certain cells and tissues of interest to Lilly. Again, the upfront payment has not been disclosed but milestones could reach $1.235 billion.

China CDMO

On the facility construction front, Chinese contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Aurisco is set to build its first commercial oligonucleotide production facility in Yangzhou.

The firm has teamed with Cytiva, which will leverage its flexible and configurable FlexFactory platform to help construct three manufacturing lines expected to produce 200 kilograms of oligonucleotides every year.

Aurisco pointed to a Research and Markets report that estimates the global oligonucleotide synthesis market to reach $16.7 billion by 2027 as a driver to invest in a commercial plant.

Cytiva has employed its FlexFactory numerous times in China, notably for firms including Beigene, JHL Biotech and Pfizer. However, the platform was first used in China for tides last year when General Biol employed it to support its oligonucleotide CDMO business.

Commercial ready

Finally in this tides roundup, CDMO CordenPharma has signed a multi-year agreement worth up to around $1 billion for the supply of a large-volume peptide at its Colorado facility.

No further details were given, but Michael Quirmbach, CEO of CordenPharma, said as part of of the agreement, his firm will further expand both its large and medium-scale peptide manufacturing capacity at the Colorado site.

CordenPharma is currently undergoing a large investment program – over €200 million ($215 million) in 2023 – across its global network to expand peptide, lipids, and injectables capacity.

About the Author(s)

Dan Stanton

Managing editor

Journalist covering the international biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing industries.

Founder and editor of Bioprocess Insider, a daily news offshoot of publication Bioprocess International, with expertise in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, in particular, the following niches: CROs, CDMOs, M&A, IPOs, biotech, bioprocessing methods and equipment, drug delivery, regulatory affairs and business development.

From London, UK originally but currently based in Montpellier, France through a round-a-bout adventure that has seen me live and work in Leeds (UK), London, New Zealand, and China.

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